As you have probably gathered from the postings so far, the training for the Graham’s Lodge team is about a lot more than just reciting a tour script and more than just Graham’s. Yesterday they had a pretty thorough grounding in winemaking and wines, today they moved on to some of the finer points of enjoying wine.
More specifically, wine glasses. Rosa Teixeira, of Portfolio Vinhos (SFE’s subsidiary for distribution in Portugal) conducted a tasting of four different wines in Riedel wine glasses to demonstrate the difference a glass makes to the enjoyment of any given wine.
For example, they tried Altano Branco in a Sauvignon Blanc glass which is considered the appropriate shape for any young fresh white – imagine a large tulip slightly closed at the top. The nose was exquisite, the flavour sensational. When that same wine was tasted from the Montrachet, a more open and rounded glass intended for mature or oaked white wines, the aromas were lost and the wine suddenly appeared a bit too acid. Rosa explained how the shape and volume of a glass guides the flow of wine into your mouth. Since different zones of your mouth respond to different flavours (fruit, acidity, tannins, alcohol), where the wine hits first determines your experience of that wine, and the shape of the glass determines where the wine hits first. The same wine was also tasted from what Rosa called The Joker – a short, squat, straight-sided wine glass made of very thick glass still used in so many restaurants (not made by Riedel, we hasten to add!). The wine seemed to have no aromas and almost no flavour – only acidity. The Lodge team were stunned by the difference.
After the tasting, Raul gathered the team round a big white carton for a lesson in shipping. When you visit the Lodge and buy wines, Graham’s is able to ship those wines anywhere in Europe. We’ve shipped 8,789 bottles so far, and never yet had a breakage.